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January 24, 2010

Biarritz Olympique 41 - 20 Glasgow Warriors

Heineken Cup match played at Parc des Sports Aquiléra on Sunday January 24th 2010 | 15 comments

Chris Cusiter finished off a great piece of play from Glasgow
Biarritz clinched a home tie in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals following a second-half demolition of Glasgow.

Thw Warriors led 20-11 early in the second half following scintillating tries from Thom Evans and Chris Cusiter.

But Biarritz rallied with 30 unanswered points, clinching the crucial bonus point 50 seconds from the final whistle to guarantee home advantage in the last eight.

Eduard Coetzee and Takudzwa Ngwenya crossed before Ilikena Bolakoro followed a penalty try to wrap up maximum points and inflict a fourth defeat on Glasgow.

Biarritz had already reserved their place in the quarter-finals after winning four of their previous pool games, however they were without key playmakers Dimitri Yachvili and Damien Traille through injury while fly-half Julien Peyrelongue was rested.

It was Peyrelongue's replacement, Valentin Courrent, who stepped up to open the scoring in the fourth minute with a penalty but Glasgow who managed to handle the muddy conditions well early on.

Flanker John Barclay hammered a hole through the heart of the Biarritz defence but it was the vision of Chris Cusiter that created the first try.

The Scotland scrum-half found Evans out wide in open space with an intelligent kick and the flying wing easily went past prop Mosese Moala before scooping up possession and diving over despite Bolakoro's lunge.

Parks expertly guided his conversion through the posts from close to the touchline for a surprise 7-3 lead.

That advantage soon grew as Glasgow dominated the close-quarter exchanges. Second-row forward Richie Gray's charge led to a second Parks penalty, and a neat interchange of passes between Max Evans, John Beattie and Cusiter ended in a third as the visitors stunned the partisan home crowd by leading 13-3.

That sparked a change in tempo and tactics from Biarritz which reduced the deficit to 13-11 by half-time. Courrent kicked a 28th-minute penalty but was off target five minutes later, and he missed again after prop Coetzee was shoved over the line by the rest of the Biarritz pack three minutes before the break.

The second half got off to a tremendous start for Glasgow, despite Parks missing for the first time, with a contender for try of the season in the Heineken Cup so far.

Full-back Bernardo Stortoni launched an audacious attack with a quickly taken penalty just 10 metres from the Glasgow try-line, and it ended with Cusiter sliding between the Biarritz posts.

Stortoni burst from defence and exchanged passes with Max Evans before handing Cusiter a 25-metre dash to score.

Parks' conversion moved Glasgow 20-11 ahead after 48 minutes but that was to be the last time they had any grip on the tie.

Biarritz turned their fortunes around in the scrum, with replacement Kiwi prop Campbell Johnstone having an impact, and with more firepower following off the bench that dominance up front led to 30 unanswered points.

Courrent drew Biarritz level with three successive penalties before wing Ngwenya made light work of Hefin O'Hare's flapping attempt at a tackle to race clear for a try that put the hosts ahead for the first time since the 10th minute.

The home side's advantage in the scrum forced referee Dave Pearson to award a penalty try after 69 minutes, but it took until the last minute of the game before they clinched the vital bonus point when Bolakoro raced on to Imanol Harinordoquy's break to score.

Glasgow coach Sean Lineen said: "I was delighted with the way we performed for 60 minutes but I'd rather forget what happened after that.

"Our discipline let us down and we gave away far too many penalties. We also had problems in the scrum after our first-choice props went off.

"That is a worrying situation as we plan for Magners League games when the main men are away on Scotland duty during the Six Nations campaign.

"On a positive front, I was thrilled with the displays of Bernie Stortoni and Graeme Morrison."

Sean played down injury fears involving Chris Cusiter and Richie Gray.

Chris had to have a dislocated pinkie slotted back into place in the early stages while Richie suffered a heavy thump to his nose.

Referee Dave Pearson (RFU)
Attendance 8,000
Team
1
Jon Welsh
2
Dougie Hall
3
Moray Low
4
Alastair Kellock
5
Richie Gray
6
Kelly Brown
7
John Barclay
8
John Beattie
9
Chris Cusiter
10
Dan Parks
11
Thom Evans
12
Graeme Morrison
13
Max Evans
14
Rob Dewey
15
Bernardo Stortoni
Sub
Fergus Thomson
Sub
Kevin Tkachuk
Sub
Ed Kalman
Sub
Dan Turner
Sub
James Eddie
Sub
Mark McMillan
Sub
Ruaridh Jackson
Sub
Hefin O'Hare
Match Substitutions
Off On
Richie Gray Dan Turner
Off On
Rob Dewey Hefin O'Hare
Off On
Jon Welsh Kevin Tkachuk
Off On
John Beattie James Eddie
Off On
Dougie Hall Fergus Thomson
Off On
Moray Low Ed Kalman
Off On
Chris Cusiter Mark McMillan
Off On
Dan Parks Ruaridh Jackson
Scorers
Thom Evans Try 
Dan Parks Conversion
Dan Parks Penalty
Dan Parks Penalty
Chris Cusiter Try 
Dan Parks Conversion
Posted by ballinj on January 25, 2010 09:49 AM | Reply to this comment

there seems to be a marked difference in the effectiveness of the 2nd choice front 3 or 5 compared to the first choice front 5. For the 3 or 4th match running we have run into problems when the subs in the front 5 come on. Something that needs to be looked at in time for next season.

Posted by Alistair Hutton on January 25, 2010 01:21 PM | Reply to this comment

Well, at least we scored the try of the tournament.

Posted by ballinj on January 25, 2010 02:06 PM | Reply to this comment

Also is there a question over our fitness levels? as we don't seem to be able to sustain the game over the full 80 - 90 minutes.

Posted by Osama bin Hidin on January 25, 2010 03:31 PM | Reply to this comment

I must admit I was shocked and stunned when I saw the final result, having checked 20 minutes from the end and having seen us 20-17 in the lead. To go from there to a good old-fashioned gubbing in 20 minutes is quite an achievement.

All I can think is there was a decision (an instruction from AR?) to preserve some of our guys for international duty in what was, ultimately, a game of no real importance - hence wholesale changes with 20-odd minutes to go.

Either that, or management really did lose the plot and do the daftest thing ever...?

Someone enlighten me, please...

Posted by clydetheglide on January 25, 2010 06:09 PM | Reply to this comment

Unfortunately, with the budget constraints on the Scottish Pro sides, we are never going to be in a position to have top class props sitting on the bench for the last 20 minutes of matches. To be successful in Europe we really need the first choice XV to be able to play for 80 minutes.

Posted by nicolas on January 25, 2010 08:58 PM | Reply to this comment

Hello, I m french from Toulouse and u are wright regarding your comments about benche quality / Just have a look on toulouse bench last sunday (Sowerby+Kelleher+Servat+Fritz+Medard etc..) All of them are intl and thats make the difference specialy in the last 20 minutes. In another way if u don't have 25 top players in your squad u cant exist in the Top 14.

Posted by jonboy on January 26, 2010 10:26 AM | Reply to this comment

But to put it in perspective we had 5 forwards on the bench all with at least "A" caps. That suggests there isn't a lot wrong with the quality of replacement but there obviously was with their performance.

Posted by clydetheglide on January 26, 2010 10:55 AM | Reply to this comment

I think my perspective is just fine. You are indeed correct that our bench at the weekend was made up of 5 Scotland A caps, a Scottish full cap, a Canadian internationalist and a Scotland 7s cap.
However when you look at the players our friend from Toulouse has mentioned above; Sowerby (South African full cap), Fritz (French full cap), Medard (French full cap), Servat (French full cap) and Kelleher (New Zealand full cap), all are recognised internationalists. There is a MASSIVE gulf in quality of replacement, and we don't have the funds to compete.

Posted by jonboy on January 26, 2010 11:12 AM | Reply to this comment

So, we're not as strong as arguably the best side in Europe for the last 10 years, agreed. However, we have a squad containing something like 17 full and 10 "A" internationals, I think that would compare with all but the very best sides. The guys who came on were international players who failed to perform. That's not a budget issue.

Posted by clydetheglide on January 26, 2010 04:01 PM | Reply to this comment

The reason we are not as strong as the best side in Europe over the last 10 years, is in no small part due to the limited budget that we have.
I am sure if you asked the coaching staff which of the two benches they would have preferred to have at the weekend it would have been the one Biarritz had to offer. Again they have a huge budget by comparison.
There is also a big difference between Scottish and Canadian internationalists and those playing for France, South Africa, New Zealand, etc. Have you not seen the world rankings recently?

Posted by AJPatterson on January 26, 2010 09:58 AM | Reply to this comment

Eh well, at the end of the day I guess it meant more to Biarritz than us. Take comfort from the fact that they had totally humped both Glos & Drags by half time, it took them the whole match to do us. The whole town in Biarritz is really looking forward to decamping en masse to San Sebastian for the quarters. I don't think the Os will get out of that one alive.

A big common factor with the Glos game is Richie Gray, we never looked the same once he went off.

Posted by AJPatterson on January 26, 2010 09:59 AM | Reply to this comment

Eh well, at the end of the day I guess it meant more to Biarritz than us. Take comfort from the fact that they had totally humped both Glos & Drags by half time, it took them the whole match to do us. The whole town in Biarritz is really looking forward to decamping en masse to San Sebastian for the quarters. I don't think the Os will get out of that one alive.

A big common factor with the Glos game is Richie Gray, we never looked the same once he went off.

Posted by Derek on January 26, 2010 10:58 AM | Reply to this comment

In terms of quality I would swap the Biarritz bench for ours everyday of the week. Especially with Eddie just back from injury and T-Bone past his best.

Posted by Hugues on January 27, 2010 02:13 PM | Reply to this comment

From the Scotsman;
BIARRITZ skipper Jerome Thion has been cited for allegedly punching or striking Glasgow’s Richie Gray in Sunday’s Heineken Cup match.

If it was a deliberate punch;
I'm so ashamed of the recent citing affairs...
That is characteristic, punches because young and better player.

Posted by Hugues on January 27, 2010 02:14 PM | Reply to this comment

From the Scotsman;
BIARRITZ skipper Jerome Thion has been cited for allegedly punching or striking Glasgow’s Richie Gray in Sunday’s Heineken Cup match.

If it was a deliberate punch;
I'm so ashamed of the recent citing affairs...
That is characteristic, punches because young and better player.

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